Potential Sentencing

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Potential Sentencing

In some cases, a conviction cannot be avoided.  A defendant either is convicted by a prosecutor or pleads guilty. Once the verdict is reached, Ohio courts will have two options. A judge can either sentence the defendant or schedule a pre-sentence investigation and sentencing hearing. Sentencing in Columbus is dependent on the circumstances and type of the offense. Many factors are taken into consideration when a judge makes a decision. It’s important to be aware of the potential legal consequences you are facing. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm.

Columbus Attorney for Potential Sentences in Ohio

Sentencing varies on what type of crime is on trial. A sentencing for a criminal offense can range from probation and community service to life imprisonment. You could also be mandated to complete possible diversion and intervention programs. It is vital that you are prepared for any potential sentences. The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are knowledgeable in all kinds of possible legal penalties. We understand the complexities of what goes into a judge’s decision and will do all we can to obtain positive verdicts. Joslyn Law Firm has been recognized by prestigious law professionals. Brian Joslyn, our firm founder, has been ranked by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys as one of the 10 best criminal defense lawyers in Ohio. Stay ahead of your potential sentencing, and obtain top legal representation with Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys represent clients throughout the greater Franklin County area including Columbus, Circleville, Dublin, Utica, Baltimore, Plain City, Newark, Lancaster, and Worthington. Overview for Potential Sentences in Ohio

  1. Sentencing Hearings
  2. Factors for Misdemeanors
  3. Misdemeanor Penalties
  4. Factors for Felonies
  5. Felony Penalties
  6. Mandatory Prison Terms
  7. Community Control Sanctions
  8. Intervention & Diversion Programs
  9. Additional Resources

Ohio Presentencing Investigations & Sentencing Hearings

A pre-sentencing investigation details the defendant’s history to the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney. It is normally conducted by the probation department in Ohio. A pre-sentencing investigation can be pivotal in your sentencing based on the content. Some information that is normally collected in a pre-sentencing investigation includes:

  • The alleged offender’s financial ability;
  • The alleged offender’s criminal history;
  • The alleged offender’s character; and
  • Any additional information that may assist conviction of a criminal sentence.

In a sentencing hearing, the evidence from the pre-sentencing investigation will be discussed. The prosecutor will try to emphasize any information that may link the defendant to the crime. A qualified criminal defense attorney can contest these and advocate for the alleged offender. Afterward, a judge will determine a sentence after hearing both parties.

Factors Considered in Misdemeanors Sentences in Columbus

Ohio Revised Code § 2929.22 lists several factors that are considered before determining a sentence for misdemeanors. This excludes any offense where a mandatory jail term is required. The following are some elements the court shall consider when sentencing an alleged offender:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offenses or offenses;
  • Whether the alleged offender has a history of persistent criminal activity;
  • Whether the offender’s history, condition, and character reveals that he or she is a danger to others;
  • Whether the offender’s conduct has been characterized by a pattern of repetitive, aggressive or compulsive behavior with heedless indifference to the consequences;
  • The victim’s youth, age, disability, or other factors that made the victim vulnerable;
  • Whether it is considered a high risk for the alleged offender to commit future crimes;
  • Whether the offender showed a emotional, mental, or physical condition that is traceable to the offender’s service in the armed forces; or
  • The offender’s military service record.

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing Chart

Ohio divides misdemeanor into five classes based on the severity of the crime. A misdemeanor is considered a less serious crime than a felony. However, misdemeanors still carry heavy penalties. Unless Ohio law lists a specific sentence for the crime, the following are general penalties for misdemeanors.

  Offense Level   Maximum Jail Time   Maximum Fine
  1st Degree Misdemeanor   180 Days   $1,000
  2nd Degree Misdemeanor   90 Days   $750
  3rd Degree Misdemeanor   60 Days   $500
  4th Degree Misdemeanor   30 Days   $250
  Minor Misdemeanor   None   $150


Factors in Considering Felony Sentencing in Franklin County

Felonies sentences are determined based on the seriousness of the crime and recidivism factors. A felony charge tends to have much heavier penalties than a misdemeanor.The Ohio Revised Code § 2929.22 lists several elements the court must take into consideration. The following are some factors regarding the victim, defendant, and any other relevant entities to indicate the seriousness of the criminal conduct:

  • Physical or mental injury suffered by the victim was considered worse due to the victim’s physical, mental condition, or age;
  • The victim suffered physical, economic, or psychological harm as a result of the offense;
  • The alleged offender was trusted in the community or held public offense, and their offense was related to their position;
  • The alleged offender occupation, elected office, or profession obliged the offender to prevent the offense;
  • The alleged offender’s reputation or occupation was used to facilitate the offense;
  • The offender committed the offense for hire or as part of an organized criminal activity;
  • The offender was motivated by prejudice based on race, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation or religion; or
  • If the offense was committed in the vicinity of one or more children who are not considered victims of the offense, and the offender or victim was a legal guardian of those children.

The sentencing court will consider all the following factors to determine if the alleged offender’s conduct was less serious than the standard conduct include:

  • The victim induced or facilitated the offense;
  • While committing the offense the offender acted under strong provocation;
  • The offender did not cause or expect to cause physical harm to any person or property; or
  • There are substantial grounds to mitigate the offender’s conduct, even if the grounds are not enough to constitute a defense.

The following are factors used by the sentencing court to determine if the alleged offender is likely to commit any future crime:

  • At the time of committing the offense:
    • The offender was under release from confinement before trial or sentencing
    • The alleged offender was under a sanction imposed pursuant to §2929.16, 2929.17, or 2929.18;
    • The offender was under post-release control pursuant to § 2967.28 or any other provision of the Revised Code for an earlier offense;
    • The alleged offender was unfavorably terminated from post-release control for a prior offense pursuant to division (B) of § 2967.16 or § 2929.141 of the Revised Code
      • This is in reference if the offender’s conduct and compliance were in conjunction with the conditions of their supervision. If not, then they would be terminated from post-release control.
    • The alleged offender was under transitional control in connection with a prior offense;
    • The alleged offender had absconded from the offender’s approved community placement resulting in the offender’s removal from the transitional control program under § 2967.26 of the Revised Code.
  • The alleged offender was adjudicated a delinquent child, or the offender has a history of criminal convictions;
  • The alleged offender has shown drug or alcohol abuse that is related to the offense;
  • The alleged offender refuses to recognize a pattern or treatment; or
  • The alleged offender shows no genuine remorse.

The following are some factors used to determine if the alleged offender is not likely to commit future crimes:

  • Prior to the offense, the offender had not been adjudicated a delinquent child;
  • Prior to the offense; the offender had not been convicted of or pleaded guilty;
  • Prior to the offense, the offender had led a law-abiding life for a significant number of years;
  • The offense was committed under circumstances not likely to recur; or
  • The offender shows genuine remorse for the offense.

Felony Sentencing Chart in Franklin County

Felonies are divided into five categories based on the seriousness of the crime. A felony conviction carries harsh penalties such as long prison sentences and hefty fines. The following are the listed consequences for each felony category under Ohio law.

  Offense Level   Maximum Prison Time   Maximum Fine
  1st Degree Felony   Up to 11 Years in Prison   $20,000
  2nd Degree Felony   Up to 8 Years in Prison   $15,000
  3rd Degree Felony   Up to 5 Years in Prison   $10,000
  4th Degree Felony   Up to 18 Months in Prison   $5,000
  5th Degree Felony   Up to 1 year   $2,500


Mandatory Prison Terms in Ohio

Some crimes already have mandatory prison terms written into Ohio law. If a person is convicted of an offense with a mandatory prison term, the judge may add additional years or penalties. Normally, a crime that has a mandatory prison sentence is considered a violent crime. The following are some offenses that require mandatory prison sentences:

  • Aggravated murder
  • Assault against Police Officers
  • Assaults against Pregnant Women
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Violent 2nd Degree Felony involving Attempted or Actual Serious Physical Harm
  • Rape if the victim is under the age of 13
  • Sexual Battery if the victim is under the age of 13
  • Gross Sexual Imposition if the victim is under the age of 13
  • Importuning if the victim is under the age of 13
  • Certain Drug Offenses
  • Corrupt Activity
  • Certain Traffic Offenses
  • Human Trafficking
  • Felony Level Domestic Violence
  • Illegally Conveying

Community Control Sanctions in Columbus

The Ohio General Assembly called for alternative imprisonment methods due to overcrowding in prisons. If an individual is not facing a mandatory prison or jail sentence, they may receive residential and non-residential sanctions. The following are the kinds of alternative imprisonment an alleged offender may be sentenced to:

  • Non-Residential Sanctions – A supervised type of imprisonment including house arrest, community service, electric monitoring, basic and intensive supervision, drug testing, curfew, employment, victim-offender mediation, anger-management programs, license-violation reports, monitored time, alcohol monitoring, or other kinds of monitoring.
  • Residential Sanctions – Community-based correctional facilities such as jails, minimum-security jails, or halfway houses;
  • Financial Sanctions – Sometimes conventional fines or fines imposed to the offender’s daily income over a period of time. It may also include restitution, mandatory court fines, or reimbursement for the cost of sanctions, prison, or jail time.
  • State Prison-Monitored Boot Camps – A 90 day incarceration period where the offender will receive a military-style discipline that will include laborious training, psychological intervention, substance-abuse education, and employment skill training. It is normally followed by the requirement to stay in a halfway house for a certain period of time.

Ohio Intervention and Diversion Programs

In controlled substance cases, an alleged offender may be eligible for an intervention or diversion program. On completion of the program, the alleged offender will not be convicted for their alleged offense. Only those who qualify are allowed to complete the program. Normally, diversion and intervention programs are reserved for first-time offenders, or those dealing with substance-abuse issues. Take note, the program has strict requirements over a period of time. If the alleged offender does not complete the program under the required terms, they will be prosecuted once again for his or her offense.

Additional Resources

Felony Sentencing Quick Reference Guide – Visit the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, and read a document created in collaboration with the Ohio Judicial Conference. See the factors considered in felony cases, the length of mandatory prison terms, optional prison terms, and sanctions under Ohio law. Definite Jail Terms for Misdemeanors – Visit Ohio legislation and read the Ohio Revised Code regarding sentences for misdemeanors. See the specifics on what factors indicate the severity of a misdemeanor, and the statutes related to them. Prison Legal Services – Visit a document created by Timothy Young, under the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. Research more on jail time credit, parole, mandatory time, what entails intensive boot camp prison programs, and more information regarding appeals.

Find a Columbus Attorney for Potential Sentences in Ohio

If you have been charged with a illegal offense in the greater Columbus area, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney. A judge will consider many factors when determining your sentence. Find an attorney to seek possible reduced convictions today with Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys are dedicated to our clients. We want to investigate your case and mount a sturdy defense to protect your rights. Joslyn Law Firm has been recognized by several esteemed law associations such as the National Trial Lawyers Association, and the Central Ohio Association for Justice. Put your future in the best hands. Contact an attorney at (614) 444-1900 today. The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm accept clients throughout the greater Southern District Court of Ohio area and nearby counties including Newark in Licking County, Circleville in Pickaway County, Washington Court House in Fayette County, Marysville in Union County, and Lancaster in Fairfield County. Let us navigate you through these choppy legal waters. Submit an online contact form to schedule an free consultation with an attorney at Joslyn Law Firm today.

This article was last updated on July 30th, 2018.    

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